Highlights and Lowlights

The Dolphins passing game had a pretty solid performance in Saturday night's loss at Tampa Bay, but there also were several areas that left a lot to be desired. We examine the highlights and lowlights of the 17-13 loss against the Bucs.

The highlights:

• Punter Brandon Fields has been an automatic 50 yards in the preseason and he was tremendous against Tampa Bay. Fields is coming off his best season in the NFL and he's looking like he'll be even better in 2011.

• Linebacker Jason Trusnik was the first free agent signed by the Dolphins this summer and he came in with a reputation as a very good special teams player. Well, he certainly showed that Saturday night with a couple of nifty open-field tackles.

• Cameron Wake didn't get a sack against Tampa Bay, but he provided consistent pressure and that was great to see two weeks before the New England opener. Wake showed the burst around the edge that we saw last year.

• Brandon Marshall made himself a big factor in the game, and it started with his 60-yard touchdown catch when he did a tremendous job of coming down with a long pass down the sideline and then did some great running after the catch. Marshall also drew two pass-interference penalties, including one on a play where it looked on replay where he was the one doing the holding and not Bucs cornerback E.J. Biggers. Finally, did some great running after the catch on his final catch, although he wasn't nearly careful enough with the ball running in the open field, which is why he ended fumbling on the play.

• Chad Henne didn't have numbers nearly as good as he did against Carolina, but he didn't get much help from his offensive line and made good decisions all night. He also did a nice job of throwing quick passes in the face of a blitz.

The lowlights:

• The entire offensive line is a major concern. The one good game that unit has had this preseason has come against Carolina, and that was a team that went 2-14 last year. The line struggled against Atlanta and had its worst showing against Tampa Bay.

• If we're going to single out somebody on that offensive line, it has to be Vernon Carey, who whiffed on a block on a running play and was beaten for a sack.

• Are we going to see the same thing again in 2011 with dropped interceptions? Yes, the preseason doesn't count, but it still was disappointing to watch both Yeremiah Bell and Vontae Davis drop what should have been picks.

• Jason Taylor got himself noticed in the Tampa Bay game, but for the wrong reasons. There was a scuffle with a Tampa Bay offensive lineman that resulted in a 15-yard penalty for the Bucs, but more significantly Taylor cost the Dolphins a safety when he committed a bad illegal contact penalty. What's more troubling, though, is we haven't seen any quickness or explosion from Taylor this preseason.

• Jeron Mastrud is trying to break out of a group to become Anthony Fasano's backup at tight end, but he didn't help himself against Tampa Bay with a couple of penalties.

• The new kickoff rules, in case it wasn't obvious enough already, stinks. Might as well just put the ball on the 20-yard line. Really love watching a scoring play, then a bunch of commercials, a kickoff that goes through the end zone, and whole other bunch of commercials. Just bad.


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